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updated: 8/10/2014 6:03 AM

North Suburban Conference to undergo changes

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The North Suburban Conference is officially breaking up, and both Grayslake high schools are directly involved.

Grayslake Community High School District 127 and Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 have announced the formation of a yet-to-be-named new athletic conference planned to commence no later than the 2016-2017 school year. Boards of education from both districts passed resolutions to form a new athletic conference during board meetings Thursday night. The following school districts will review and act upon board resolutions on this matter this month:

• Grayslake Community High School District 127 (Grayslake Central, Grayslake North high schools)

• Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 (Wauconda)

• Community High School District 117 (Antioch, Lakes)

• Grant Community High School District 124 (Grant)

• Round Lake Areas Schools District 116 (Round Lake)

• North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 (North Chicago)

In a statement, school board officials said, "In creating a high quality athletic conference, the districts plan to include a strong emphasis on student growth in all areas. Discussions are under way to create new shared student opportunities in areas spanning academics, fine arts, student activities, student leadership and community service. Participating districts are also committing to exploring other areas of mutual benefit, including shared services and shared professional development, among other areas of common interest."

The conference currently consists of two seven-school divisions, all of which are in Lake County. Antioch, Grant, Lakes, North Chicago, Round Lake, Vernon Hills and Wauconda comprise the NSC Prairie. Lake Forest, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Mundelein, Stevenson, Warren and Zion-Benton make up the NSC Lake.

Multiple sources have said Vernon Hills will join the Lake Division schools to form an eight-school NSC.

The NSC last underwent change in 2005, when newly opened Lakes joined. Zion-Benton switched from the Prairie to the Lake division.

In 1997, the Northwest Suburban Conference -- which consisted of Grayslake, Grant, Johnsburg, Marian Central, Round Lake and Wauconda -- broke up. Grayslake immediately joined the FVC. When the FVC expanded in 2006 with the opening of Grayslake North, Grayslake North and renamed Grayslake Central became members of the FVC Fox Division.

Grayslake Central and Grayslake North are the only Lake County high schools in the FVC.

"While we have thoroughly enjoyed the partnership afforded through our Fox Valley colleague schools, we are delighted to be able to deepen our connections with friends and neighbors by participating in a conference with adjoining school districts," Catherine Finger, superintendent of Grayslake Community High School District 127, said. "Our students have had wonderful opportunities in both the Fox Valley and the North Suburban Conferences, and we will all continue to work closely together to benefit and support all members of both conferences as we move through this transition. I am confident that as school leaders we will all continue to work together to create the best opportunities for all students as we co-construct a new conference together."

Added Dan Coles, Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 superintendent: "Wauconda's students and families will benefit greatly from taking this opportunity to create a conference of similarly sized, geographically desirable schools. Adding the Grayslake High Schools to the mix just makes sense for us as we typically find ourselves driving through Grayslake to get to any NSC scheduled competition. I believe this new alignment will ultimately work to the best interests of all schools involved and I look forward to working through the transition process together."

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